Deconstructing Microsoft's Software Piracy Claims

from the doesn't-stand-up-to-reality dept

For years, we’ve mocked the BSA for their bogus yearly stats on unauthorized software copying. The BSA (and plenty of big software companies), love to go on and on claiming how much is “lost” to unauthorized copying. However, they calculate the number by assuming that every copy would actually be paid for — an assumption that is obviously untrue. However, it looks like some companies go even further in putting up a charade. Jeremy Wagstaff does a great job deconstructing a Microsoft press conference in Indonesia about unauthorized copies. Either Microsoft believes that most people are too dumb too recognize that the company is clearly being disingenuous, or it simply doesn’t understand the real issues. Among the problems with the Microsoft statement is that it claims that unauthorized copying is costing the Indonesian economy — ignoring the other side of the coin. With so many companies and individuals using Microsoft software obtained for free, it’s quite likely that much of it has boosted the economy. If not… why would they ever want to buy it? Wagstaff also takes issue with Microsoft bemoaning that all of these copies are hurting the local software industry, suggesting that it can’t develop. As Wagstaff notes, Microsoft has absolutely no interest in the local software industry, and pretending it does is silly. The actual post goes into a few other questionable statements from the company — but it really does raise the question: who do they think they’re fooling?

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Comments on “Deconstructing Microsoft's Software Piracy Claims”

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Chucky says:

Let’s see now…Bill Gates is worth 50 BILLION dollars…hmmmm…I wonder how he became the richest man in the world selling MS products?

With SO much piracy going on I venture to guess he would be worth 100 Billion if people would actually pay for all copies of his buggy software.

How much money do these program writers need?!

Totally ridiculous and assinine for someone in his position to complain about piracy.

Here’s a tip Bill…lower your prices to reasonable cost for anyone to buy it and you may see more profits from people buying it instead of “borrowing” it!

AnarChaos says:

MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

Whatever. I don’t see Apple losing money. Maybe becuase the MAC O/S is somewhat hard-coded into the machine ?? And they don’t sell retail copies of the O/S at BestBuy?? Has anyone EVEN seen OS 10 posted on a torrent site???

Besisdes, who actually wants to pay for buggy software?? Does anyone have the full count for how many updates WinXP has had since its release???

I’m not a total proponent for software piracy, but I haven’t paid for a MS Operating System or software since WinME. Do I get full Windows updates? Yes. Does Microsoft care if I’m one of serveral hundred thousand people with pirated copies of XP? No.

Will I get Vista? Definately not. Well, not until 95% of the bugs are fixed. Will I pay for my copy? Look how many beta releases they’ve had. Plus, they’re gonna have how many DIFFERNET releases of Vista?? Six??

Are they just losing money in Indonesia? What about the rest of the world??

WTF AreYouSaying? says:

Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

>> Whatever. I don’t see Apple losing money. Maybe becuase the MAC O/S is somewhat hard-coded into the machine ??

Uh No. It’s installed right there on the Hard Drive. Nothing is HARD CODED.

>> And they don’t sell retail copies of the O/S at BestBuy??

Hmm. YEs. They Do.

>Has anyone EVEN seen OS 10 posted on a torrent site???

Yes. That’s where I got the 10.4 Tiger version

AnarChaos says:

Re: Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

BTW – did you already have OS 10.x on the MAC – or did you buy an upgrade from 9.x???

We have BestBuy in Canada – but up here we can only purchase the O/S off the shelf from AUTHORIZED Apple retailers.

** Uh No. It’s installed right there on the Hard Drive. Nothing is HARD CODED

– I should edit rephrase: not hard-coded, but FIRMWARE

try installing XP on your MAC box and vice versa.

===== from:

“…though there is no copy protection or activation scheme in the single Mac version that would prevent you from installing a single copy on multiple machines…”

or HERE:


Luci says:

Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

Has anyone EVEN seen OS 10 posted on a torrent site???

Actually, yes. I have. You can literally find ANYTHING on torrents if you look. In this case, you don’t even have to look hard. Torrentspy and Torrent Reactor both list plenty of copies.

Actually, if you actually look you will find that OS X costs as much as Windows.

Knight Templar says:

Re: Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

“Actually, if you actually look you will find that OS X costs as much as Windows.”

Which goes to show how much Microsoft is actually making on this. what you are paying for is the development of the software not the disk itself. Lets say for instance, you have a piece of software that cost $1 million to develop and the CDs and packing ect cost you $2 per copy. if you have 5 customers you can sell your products for $200,002.00 and break even. If you have 100,000 customers you can sell for $12 and break even.

The Mac OS, I have to admit, is better designed than Windows, probably because they spend mor money to make sure it is done right. But windows has a far larger customer base.

Taking tose two statements and the example above (you can thank economics for that) you would expect Windows to be far cheaper than Mac OS.

Anonymous Coward says:

make better software for less

they wanna make more profits?

first thing they’ll have to do, make it cost less – does anybody wanna pay 200 to 300 USD for software, even in the US, when you go for a dirt cheap PC, it *COULD* come out around 200 to 300 USD – add in M$ Windows, and the price instantly doubles

second, OS X and Linux distros seem to be gaining at least some ground. why would people turn away from your product for another? a lot of the time people dont have any problem whatsoever pirating software, especially something as expensive as Windows – so why would they turn away from something they can get for free (albeit illegally)? number one probabiliity is because the quality of it sucks (as far as they are concerned anyway). the solution to keeping people from turning away for this reason is to make the product not suck

when you get down to it, M$ needs to make their software (namely windows) of a higher quality, and then to sell it for less

AnarChaos says:

Re: make better software for less

YOU don’t have ANY pirated software on your PC??

Don’t forget – you can’t make something cheaper when people steal it.

Hey – new thread… “Pirating oil in the MidEast – gas/oil prices go up. Microsoft uses Vista to control pieplines and refineries.”

Coincidence?? LAMO

AnarChaos says:

Re: Competition

OK. Let’s compare Sony’s Playstation 2/3 against the Xbox/360.


Bottom line. Either console is technically a media box. Movies, games, etc. Except I don’t remember Sony having issues like Microsoft with the 360.


Sony still has a larger population of games for the PS/2 then MS for the Xbox/360. Prices are comparable.

Still wanna pay a few hundred bucks for one??

Quality vs quantity.

David Shealey says:

Re: Interesting view

Word became the defacto standard over a MUCH better WordPerfect, only because of Microsoft’s “better” (read aggressive) marketing, certainly not because of better software!

I used WordPerfect for many years, only started using Word because of my company’s use of it. I recently just gave up that crap and went back to WordPerfect at home. WP is STILL a far better application, and friendlier to use in several ways.

WP will open and save Word files very well, but will Word handle WP files well? Hell no!

Anonymous Coward says:


For every article about software or music piracy, I see the same type of comments:

  • the company charges too much for the product, but I want it, so it’s okay for me to take a copy
  • the product is poor quality, but I still want it, so it’s okay for me to take a copy
  • “sharing” is actually *helping* the company, they just don’t understand it, so it’s okay for me to take a copy
  • making a copy doesn’t cost the company anything, so it’s okay for me to just take a copy
  • I wouldn’t pay for the product anyway, but I still want it, so it’s okay for me to take a copy

If you don’t want to pay for the product — don’t use it. If enough people feel as you do, market forces should correct the situation.

Not liking the business model/policy of the producer is not a justification for using but not paying.

AnarChaos says:

Re: It IS hurting the Indonesian economy.

Isn’t it true everywhere else??

“If you can’t make it good, make it look good.”


Why can’t Microsoft solve [technical problems]? Complacency. Microsoft has no competition to speak of. No incentive to hurry. No urgency to its mission. If it misses its target by, oh say … two years, what are we going to do about it? Put OS/2 on our machines out of protest? Throw our $3,000 computers away and buy Macs instead? Throw our software away and switch to Unix workstations?

Of course not. We’re stuck. We’re screwed.”

-JESSE BERST, ZDNet AnchorDesk

Josh says:

It's Theft

It’s theft people plain and simple. You justify it however you want but it is still theft.

With the way that people trash Microsoft and other big industry players I would fully expect to see people filling up their gas tanks and driving off without paying. With the justification “The oil companies made 50 billion dollars”.

I will never understand why when it comes to software and the internet people feel that there is a moral difference between stealing (gas, food, or anything else) and software.

Pirating software, music or anything else that is copy written and not in the public domain is stealing.

ECJB (user link) says:

Re: It's Theft

Speaking of “copy written”…

Now we are in the age of putting “ideas” under copyright, and now have “copyright trolls.” This makes the whole process of just *DEVELOPING* something that much more difficult because you now have to deal with the (blood-sucking) lawyers. How did we get into the state of having ideas copyrighted? Now if you use a company’s name, you’re supposed to put the ™ or (c) or whatever after it.

I think IMHO that people have gotten too possessive of their ideas. I’m not opposed to making money, but putting everything under lock and key and having every web site reaching into your pocket isn’t going to make for happy campers.

Maybe it’s just because I haven’t had the brilliant idea that’s made me a million/billionaire, but then again, is my comfort worth the unhappiness of those I would ask to pay for it?

I suppose it comes down to a question of a loss of morals, standards, absolutes, guidance, and direction as a society and globally. The pirahna at the top of the econimic food pyramid keep getting fatter on the chum at the bottom.

There is no easy solution because the problem isn’t just “theft of software,” but a systemic problem that won’t ever go away.

– Eric.

Joe says:

Re: It's Theft

That’s very true. I agree with you 100%. But do I still pirate software and music? Hell yes. Why you ask? Because I don’t care.

I completely agree that it is stealing, but it’s a different kind of theft. stealing “gas, food, [or] anything else” means there is that much less left for everyone else, and there was no return (money in this society) for the goods. Stealing IP is different because it doesn’t take the product away from other people or cost the owner of the IP anything (besides lost sales, which is an arguable point), but it IS still stealing.

Personally, I have switched over 100% to running Linux. I find it to be a better product and there are plenty of free software solutions that meet and exceed my needs. Using a Windows box now just seems so odd. I’m not saying that this is an option for everyone, but it’s one that worked great for me, and I have the added “feel good” bonus of knowing that what I run is “legal”. I do, however, still pirate software and music, and I have even installed “illegal” codecs and things on my Linux machine, but again, do I care? No, but that’s a whole other issue.

As for the arguments “it’s too expensive” or “they make so much money anyway” or “their software sucks” or anything else, I ask you this; why do you continue to use it? If it sucks so much, use something else. There ARE other choices, and a good number of them, but most people are simply too lazy to find and use them. That’s why M$ is still on top, and (as much as I hate to say it) probably always will be……

Carol says:

Win Xp Home

I purchased a laptop about 2 years ago spent $1000.00 on it. The laptop had Win Xp Home installed on it, the laptop is no longer working and I cannot use the Win Xp Home on my personal PC …..How wrong is that!!! Microsoft told me that it is sold only to work on the laptop it was sold on. So if the laptop is trashed (my fault) and so is the Operating System. They said putting it on a personal PC is piracy????

I think that is a big rip off! All I was trying todo, upgrade my personal PC, and salvage what I could from my laptop.

Grass Burner says:

Re: Re: Re: Win Xp Home

I have the best thing for someone who wants to put XP on a trashed computer that already had XP on it.

OK what you need to do is download a version of XP from a torrent site or even get a copy from someone who has it.

Next thing to do is get your original XP key that came on your trashed laptop.

When installing XP to your new computer just enter the serial that came with the old one.

It may seem like stealing to some but how can you steal your own key????

Wind says:

Like a Monopoly

One of the reasons people pirate windows is because its is the most popular os. When you think about it, windows works on PC’s and Mac works on its own machine. There is no competition for microsoft since there isnt anyting that will run on a PC that IS big enough to compete against them. Yes Yes, Linux Unix and most of the other OS’s can use PC architecture but they are not corportate like microsoft. Linux is free and BSD is free. Unix you can get by priating but they dont complain that your doing it. Most free companies find happiness in the thought that your using their OS. Microsoft finds happiness in money.

Another thing… from what i recall most machines that are used by most local governments are windows. Im not sure how far up the government windows is used but it pushes the microsoft dependency even farther. Just because microsoft has Mac for “competition” doesnt mean they are not monopolizing. The only way that the OS monster can come down is with another OS monster.

Quick! … someone invent an alternate OS that will run on PC and can compete with Microsoft! The idea of even competing with microsoft would be foolish since they have their stuff sold almost everywhere, even walmart. I dont see Mac’s being sold at walmart.

Becides even if you were to compete with windows OS what would you call it? Doors? Steps? Call it Shutters! you know… what you put around your windows. They use to use shutters to put over your windows right? There you go!


Rupert Murdoch says:

Re: Torrents

“True enough. I just don’t have Linux/MAC/OTHER saved on preferences on TorrentSpy. My Bad.

And yes – you can find just about anything. But is really going off topic.”

You have no idea what you are talking about, obviously, as you have been beaten on every point. Back under the bridge with you, troll.

Pete says:

Well now

Ok, I really don’t endorse piracy. But lets see, make a proprietary format that spreads world wide. Now, if you want to communicate with those people you have to use the same product. Now your hands are tied; you have to use that product.

1) Have you ever applied to a job and the want your resume in *.doc format?

2) Ever try and issue a spreadsheet that wasn’t in *.xls format?

3) Ever work for a company that has their time sheets in a web based environment? Quite a few of them reqire IE.

Use Open Standards; and let your products compete on:

a) Price

b) Value added by the flexibility of your software.

Open Standards, are a good thing. Who uses the Open Standards.

a) Without TCP/IP you wouldn’t be connecting to the net.

b) Without HTTP you wouldn’t be connecting to the graphical side of the net.

c) HTML; your actual web page.

d) TLS/SSL (via netscape); secure shopping and online transactions.

d) Email; another Open Standard (mime and s/mime). What would the net be without email.

The few examples listed above; show what Open Standards have created.

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